LAHORE        -       The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday directed the Punjab government to ban hunting of blackbucks.

An LHC bench consisting of Justice Abid Aziz Shaikh issued a 17-page verdict in writ petition filed against hunting of the rare specie.

The bench also ordered the provincial government to take substantial steps to ensure the protection of the protected species.

The court directed the commission headed by Dr Pervez Hassan that after every six months it conduct a meeting and submit its report to Deputy Registrar Judicial LHC.

The court observed that animals are an essential part of the environment and leaving them unprotected is a violation of their fundamental rights.

The petition says the government not taking proper steps. It further flays the Punjab government’s negligence on the issue as the blackbucks in the Cholistan desert and the Lal Suhanra Park in Bahawalpur are deteriorating.

“The petitioner has no objections if Blackbucks Commission’s recommendations are implemented,” the court told.

He argued that blackbucks is protected specie mentioned in third schedule of Punjab preservation and protection of wildlife therefore it’s hunting must be brought to a halt. He said that it is also enlisted as vulnerable specie under CITES convention.

The commission submitted its report stating that the hunting of blackbucks should not be allowed and Punjab govt must take all safeguard measures  in Lal Sohanra Park Bahawalpur and Cholistan area. It also admitted that the blackbuck is a rare specie and must be protected

The honourable judge directed the govt to pay special attention to the protection of biological diversity and must take all precautionary measures to safeguard the vulnerable specie.

The judge wrote further in the judgement that a fundamental right contained in article 9, right of life includes right to protect all  living organisms including birds, animals, air and soil.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared blackbuck as a “near vanished” species in 2008 and hence it was vulnerable and its hunting was prohibited.

In India the protection of wildlife blackbucks specie gained eminence and became a public importance issue in the late 1990s when actor Salman Khan was prosecuted for poaching blackbucks in the Rajasthan area.